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The Rule of Nine: A Paul Madriani Novel by Steve Martini
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
William Morrow Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061930218
Date: 01 June 2010 List Price $26.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Another chase for justice for Coronado, CA lawyer Paul Madriani and his partner Harry Hinds. This time they are chasing the elusive criminal Thorn. At the same time, Madriani and Hinds are running for their own lives from the assassin known as the Mexicutioner. It's great adventure!!

The short review of The Rule of Nine is-----I loved it! Read it!

Criminal lawyer Paul Madriani and his partner Harry Hinds are the lead characters in Steve Martini's series of novels. In The Rule of Nine, an assassin leaves Paul Madriani's business card in the wallet of one of his victims. Of course, Madriani had nothing to do with the murder but gets pulled into the investigation anyway.

The Rule of Nine is a new and independent plotline, but follows part of the storyline from Steve Martiniís previous novel, Guardian of Lies. There is plenty of background information, so you need not have read the previous novel.

The assassin is a ruthless man named Liquida, nicknamed ďThe Mexicutioner". Madriani, Hinds, and their investigator Herman crossed paths with Liquida before. In the previous novel, they managed to foil one of his attempts to redeem cash for some gold he stole during a previous job, plus they managed to see him. The witness was very brief, but Liquida does not like to be identified and stalks Madriani, Hinds, Hermann, and Madriani's daughter.

Madriani is convinced that Liquida is the killer in the DC murder, and calls his contact at the FBI, Thorpe. Thorpe will not take action because there is no evidence linking Liquida to the crime, and for that matter, linking Liquida to any other crime. He is a very efficient hit man.

Through a little luck, Madriani gets hold of the FBI photos from the murder scene and the photos lead Madriani and friends to a suspect that the reader knows as Thorn. Again, Madriani has no real evidence and the FBI cannot follow up, so Madriani chases Thorn on his own. Thorn is suspected of hiring Liquida for the first murder, and Liquida is still chasing Madriani.

In a parallel plotline, the reader knows Thorn is purchasing a retired passenger jet to deliver a bomb that he procured on the black market. We don't find out the location until the end.

With a little skill and a little luck, Madriani and company head out and discover the aircraft purchase plus manage to locate Thorn in his home base of Puerto Rico. It makes for a great adventure story as Madriani chases Thorn, trying to save the world from Thorn's unknown plot, even though he has absolutely no authority. Of course Madriani and company track him down, and the book has a magnificent climax, but I cannot spoil that. In the meantime, Liquida is seeking his revenge against Madriani and his daughter, so they are constantly running from Liquida too.

One note on The Rule of Nine is that Madriani has a love interest. This is the first in the three Steve Martini novels that I have read. Paul is a widower and up until this book, has not had any romantic interests. It makes me laugh that they spend all day chasing Thorn, running from Liquida, and still find the time and energy to make love all night, but it is a novel.

My one complaint with the book is that several plotlines are left open at the end. Of course the world continues to stay safe for democracy, but I would have liked a few of the various plotlines to be sewn up. I understand that Steve Martini will write a sequel and I can't wait to read it, but a little more closure would have been nice.

I had the great opportunity to visit Coronado, CA last summer and visit the site of the Madriani and Hines fictional law office. A plaque is hanging dated June 2010, so I assume that Steve Martini visited there recently. Coronado is a wonderful place and I highly recommend a visit. It is one of the treats for me to read the novels and escape to Coronado for a visit.

I loved The Rule of Nine, and I canít wait to read the next one!

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